Olczyk: What return by Jared McCann means for Seattle Kraken

May 10, 2023, 6:25 PM

Seattle Kraken Jared McCann...

Jared McCann of the Seattle Kraken skates against the Dallas Stars on May 9, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

It didn’t help them come away with the win in Game 4, but the Seattle Kraken got some good news with their roster as top scorer Jared McCann returned to action after missing the team’s last six playoff games.

Top Seattle Kraken scorer McCann back after missing last 6 games

McCann took a massive hit from top Colorado defenseman Cale Makar in Game 4 of the first-round series and missed the rest of that series and the first three games in the Dallas Stars series.

But the 40-goal scorer was back in the lineup on Tuesday in the Kraken’s Game 4 loss to the Stars.

ROOT Sports Kraken analyst Eddie Olczyk shared what he saw from McCann and what he expects of the winger going forward.

“Well, I don’t think he would be in the lineup if you couldn’t depend on him,” Olczyk told Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy on Wednesday. ” … I think coach (Dave) Hakstol used him the right way.”

McCann played just over 13 minutes on Tuesday, and Olczyk says it’s all about getting his timing back after such a prolonged absence.

“Practicing is one thing, but trying to jump on a so-called moving train … all of a sudden coming into a playoff series and here you are is what Jared had to do,” Olczyk said. “And look, he’s an experienced guy, a veteran guy, he’s been around.”

Olczyk thought McCann started the game well, registering a good shot on goal in his very first shift. He thinks McCann will get better and more comfortable moving forward.

“The more reps he gets, the more time he gets, he’s gonna become effective, he said. ” … I think that was a good start for Jared and I would expect his minutes to go up, and hopefully he’s feeling good and double thumbs are up and ready to go. He can be a real key cog in here like he was all season long, and hopefully he can be feeling good and get ready for a huge Game 5 and be that difference-maker and game-breaker that Kraken certainly need and wants and hopefully he can find the back of the net and start feeling good about himself.”

McCann also showed some physicality, which Olczyk feels is a really good sign moving forward.

“It didn’t seem like there was any hesitation. Because look, anytime you’re hurt regardless of the injury … there is that trepidation, there is that, OK, it’s fine skating, and it’s OK in practice and when you’re wearing the red no-contact jersey and yeah, everything’s great and whatever,” he said. “But all of a sudden when you’re playing against guys that have ill intentions on you, you’ve got to jump in with both feet and I saw Jared did that last night and performed well. And I would expect him to be feeling better and better heading into Game 5.”

What makes the Kraken’s playoff run even more impressive, Olczyk said, is that McCann missed six of their postseason games and fellow winger Andre Burakovsky has been out essentially since the All-Star Break.

“Two huge losses … You’ve been playing arguably without the two best offensive players, and look at where this team has gotten to without those two guys,” he said. “So it is by committee, it is by the depth of this team that (Kraken general manager) Ronnie Francis has put together, and there’s a lot of confidence.”

Listen to the full interview with Olczyk at this link or in the player below.

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